Marco Polo ? NOT!
What's different about what we mistakenly identify as the 'Marco Polo' variety is that it is fairly low in the number of buds and blooms per stalk. Up to this year, 2003, we had only seen one flower per stalk, this year (2003) at least we're seeing 2 and 3, an improvement but nothing like the 15-20 buds we get from 'Dame Blanche'. The stem is comparatively short but the flower itself rates amongst the largest ones we get.
The 6 'Marco Polo' bulbs we have, sort of got lost between the stands of 'Aruba'. They have been moved to a different location in time for this year's blooming season. They're still in the same planter box, but they have been moved south from where they used to be. They no longer compete with 'Aruba'. And it appears to have benefitted them, all showed more than one flower for the first time in 2003.
Even though it's misidentified, it's still a large and beautiful flower: almost 9 inches!
No real need here to spot the obvious differences between the package illustration and what we mark as 'Marco Polo' in the yard. Don't misunderstand us now, we DO like what we see, trouble is we don't know what it is:)
Obviously we have done a fair bit of digging on the web to see if we could figure out what we actually have here. It's obviously NOT 'Marco Polo' and the closest we have been able to find to what we actually grow, is 'Hot Lips'.
The flower shown on the package is rather like what we call 'Expression' in our collection, if it weren't for the fact that some of those sure look like 'Aruba' to me:) Having said all that, if we follow the illustrations on the packaging you quickly see how close 'Marco Polo' and 'Expression' are. One shows a little more of a pink suffusion than the other, but they really are quite close.
Just for fun, why not compare the two labels and you be the judge? Once you're done, we think you'll agree: what we call 'Marco Polo' is a pretty enough flower, BUT it isn't what we call it!